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Volume 48, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0032-1400


It is not known for certain howfour platinum roubles came to be in Johnson Matthey ’s possession. There is rumour that, at the end of World War I, A. B. Coussmaker of Johnson Matthey, negotiated with the White Russians to smuggle out of Russia a hoard of coins which had been withdrawn by the government years before. The hoard was reputed to be on a train to the West when the Reds caught up with it. Rather than stop the transaction, they thought it a good idea as it would raise capital for them - at that time, the refining capacity of the young U.S.S.R. had been disrupted. So they took over the deal and let the consignment continue its journey to Johnson Matthey where it was refined and the platinum sold on their behalf. However, this is speculation (1). Eye witnesses state that two roubles were definitely in the company’s possession in 1956, and that two more came from the desk of Dr Leslie B. Hunt, the founder of this Journal (1). The roubles have thus been in Johnson Matthey ’s possession for almost 50 years and probably for longer. More likely to be true is a brief note in a typewritten statement in the possession of Johnson Matthey, stating no more than “the specimens formed part of a consignment sent to Johnson Matthey for refining about 1870” (2). As there is always interest in platinum coins and particularly in Russian roubles which were the first platinum coins to be minted, it was decided to investigate the metal content of the Johnson Matthey roubles to find if they conformed to recognised Russian roubles - or were forgeries.


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  1. Austin A. private E-mail communication, 8th July, 1999 [Google Scholar]
  2. Johnson Matthey, London, internal manuscript
  3. Raub C. J. Platinum Metals Rev., 2004, 48, (2), 66; and references therein [Google Scholar]
  4. Lupton D. F. op. cit., (Ref. 3), 72; and references therein [Google Scholar]

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  • Article Type: Research Article
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